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The mysterious train
The Mystery of the Blue Trai - Agatha Christie
Member Name: CPTDANIELS
The Mystery of the Blue Trai - Agatha Christie
Date: 23/10/11, updated on 24/10/11 (113 review reads)
Advantages: So many possible suspects with reasons for murder
Disadvantages: Poor start to the novel with a summary that did not do the story justice
American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin purchases for his daughter Ruth the spectacular rubies called 'The Heart of Fire'. She is delighted with his gift but has some bad news that does not surprise the father. After being married to the Hon Derek Kettering for several years she admits that she no longer loves him and she want a divorce. They had not been close for some time and both parties have other relationships they would like to pursue. Rufus happily agrees to set the wheels in motion knowing that by doing this he will ruin Kettering financially.
Ruth decides to take a trip on the Blue Train to the French Riviera to re-charge her batteries. But unknown to her there are several other characters known to her that will also be taking this mysterious train. However the lady she keeps bumping into is initially a stranger a Miss Katherine Grey who has recently come into money. This is after her companion she looked after for many years recently died and rather than give the money to her distant family she opted for Miss Grey who had attended her for the previous ten years. What will happen to these ladies on this luxurious train?
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I think on balance this was a good thriller. Although I must admit to have read it several times before, it still impressed me. It is a classic Agatha Christie featuring her unique Belgium Detective Hercule Poirot. This author is the most famous crime writer ever only being outsold by The Bible and Shakespeare. In total she wrote 39 books involving this Private Detective of which this is the sixth in the series and was written way back in 1928.
As a result of this mystery being written over 80 years ago, for some readers the concept behind the story and the subsequent investigation may appear very dated. However I tend to take the oppersite view, I enjoy going back in time to a more innocent time. When a Detective main weapon was using his intelligence to solve a crime. I think a well written and clever story is enjoyable regardless of if it was set last week or 100 years ago.
Although I did find a few aspects of the novel disappointing. For example I thought the novel's summary on the back of the book was poor. It did not set the scene nearly as well as it could have and did not mention a lot of the ideas behind the story that could have drawn the reader into the story, even before starting it.
When I started reading the story I also found it initially poor. The reason for this was the author used the first two chapters to introduce the concept of these very value rubies 'The Heart of Fire'. To be honest I found this chapter completed unnecessary and highly confusing. As it dealt with unusual names that I found hard to remember and characters I knew little about.
Following this however the story settled down to be the usual interesting, well written style. I found the story well structured and I very much liked the unexpected and very clever turns the author employed in classic Christie style so that it was never the person it first appeared. The pace was always good and in this story Poirot was excellent at explaining exactly what he was thinking and demonstrating to all what a first class Detective he is and far more intelligent than any Police force.
I found the many and varied way the story developed as excellent. There is something I really admire about using your 'Little Grey Cells' to solve the crime rather than forensic or DNA as you can now days. With a conclusion to the story that made perfect sense was cleverly incorporated so that it all fitted into what happened. And one in which I never saw coming and had never considered, even on the third time of reading as this was for me.
The only other thing that slightly surprised and disappointed me was Christie's very romantic and simplistic view on love. I just felt this let down the book as it made some of the characters appear somewhat simplistic in the way they fell in and out of love, without enough depth behind what was happening to them. It certainly demonstrated to me why she was a crime writer rather than a writer of romantic fiction.
The story was very short at just 240 pages, but within that time the author had written a well thought out story with some excellent unexpected twists that was rich in possibilities and always made you think and wonder about all the characters the author had created.
Poirot was the main character and where as sometimes he comes across as being pompas, I found him a little more down to earth in this story and easy to relate to. He appeared more human and seemed to be able to get on with all the characters and suspects far more as a result. I found as always his clever mind worked wonderfully well and always opened up new and previously unthought of ideas into the equation.
He was supported by a number of well thought out characters that I enjoyed but I always wanted to know more about as depth seemed to be lacking in this aspect.
I found this paperback on sale at Amazon for £4.99 and for me this represents good value for a good quality crime thriller.
I thought this was a decent enough crime thriller but a long way from one of the best that this brilliant author has written. I found it interesting going back in time to the 1920's and the clever way the author exposed the different between the have and the have not's within society. It was cleverly written and it was a real classic whodunit that even surprised me with the resolution.
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
@CPTDANIELS October 2011.
Summary: Classic Agatha Christie